NEW YORK - The Democrats in the race for mayor are staking out their positions on the Defund the Police movement, some speaking more explicitly than others.

What You Need To Know

  • Some contenders were explicit on Defund the Police

  • All cited the need for reforms to NYPD operations

  • Some want top-to-bottom change while others are re-prioritizing

Former non-profit leader Dianne Morales recalled fearing for her children as her family protested George Floyd’s death earlier this year and were surrounded by police.

“Let me just start off by saying that I was the first candidate to call for defunding the police and I stand by those words and I’m not backing down," she said.

Kathryn Garcia was most recently commissioner of another uniformed agency, the sanitation department.

“I do not agree with Defund the Police," she said. "I do agree with community policing and rethinking and reforming the police department.”

Speaking at a virtual mayoral forum focused on public safety and hosted by the Central Brooklyn Political Action Association, several 2021 contenders drew from their personal experiences.

Maya Wiley was chief counsel to Mayor de Blasio but also chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

“I’ve been Black all my life," she said. "And policing is working exactly as it was designed to: It’s control and contain. And that is not public safety. So we have to put the public back in public safety. And that means a soup-to-nuts, top-to-bottom restructuring of what we call the New York City Police Department.”

Comptroller Scott Stringer spoke about a life of demonstrating and addressed some officers’ violence toward Black Lives Matter protesters.

“It was a stain on our city," he said. "So the next mayor has got to have a police commissioner aligned with his or her values. The next mayor has to control the department, not the other way around.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams spoke as a former member of the NYPD. He retired as a captain.

“Public safety and justice, they go together," he said. "And we don’t have to have one without the other. And I believe there are some quick things we can do to reallocate funding in the policing to become more proactive and not reactive.”

The forum was the third this election cycle for the Democratic hopefuls.

Former director of the U.S. Office for Management and Budget Shaun Donovan, former city Veterans’ Services Commissioner Loree Sutton and Brooklyn City Council Member Carlos Menchaca was also participants.